tv Charlie Rose PBS January 18, 2013 11:00pm-12:00am PST
>> rose: welcome to the program. tonight, a conversation with piers morgan of cnn. >> honestly, piers, i think this is the wrong night to be doing this and i really wish you waited to have this segment until after the funerals. this is a time in colorado and nationally when it would have been better to have more of the se segments like you did before with the family and when people could be unified in helping the victims.
>> let me challenge you on what you just said. a lot of people have said that today, a lot of people who don't want strengthening gun control have said, "this is not the day to debate it." i'll tell you the day to debate it would have been yesterday to prevent this from happening. i think all journalists at their best ride the crux, sp of acceptability. journalism is a rough business. to get to the truth what i lot of people in public bodies are lyingnd of you skating, sometimes journalists have to play dirty, too, and to pretend otherwise i think is ridiculous. the mirror in my time i believe operated legally but operated right on that line. we drove very, very hard to expose wrongdoing where we saw tto investigate wars, to investigate political lying and so on. now,-- now-- the line is let. legality. there is law. there is british law. there is american law. it's there, and it wasn't enforced in britain. >> rose: piers morgan for the
city, this is charlie rose. >> rose: piers morgan is here. he is the host of "piers morgan tonight." it is the two-yea anniversary of the show's launch. he has interviewed, a colorfulivate of the guests. they range from paris hilton to the calledy llama. earlier in his career he headline the "sun" and "daily mirror. he is bringing his appetite for controversy to america. i am pleased to have him on this program. welcome. époood to see you. >> good to see you, charlie. >> rose: i want to just go to gun control because you waded into this battle. was there a particular thing that set you off, other than the tragedy of 20 innocent children? >> yeah. it was actually-- it was earlier than tt. when i began at cnn in january 2010, it was a week after gabby giffords had been shot. and i was completely shocked, not just by what happened to her and the six people who got killed but the fact that after a week of mourning and general chatter about a debate about gun control, nothing happened.
so a congresswoman could be nearly murdered, at pointblank range by a deranged man way bunch of firearms and no action was taken to tray to prevent this happening again. and from then on, there was a pattern of these massacres and mass shootings. they came with alarming reg layerity in america and nothing ever got done. i really exploded after the aurora movie theater shooting. because there you had a young man who had acquired four firearms perfectly legally, including one of these ar15 assault rifles. me then got 6,000 rounds of amnition anonymously on the internet, and he had dressed up as the joker and gone to a movie theater and gunned down a record number of americans in one single shooting, 70 people, and killed 12. and it was an event of such ferocity and horror, i thought this will surely now drive change. and nothing happened. and so when sandy hook happened,
to me was-- it had to be a tipping point. you couldn't now have, after aurora, a few months before, 20 young children blown to pieces with three to 11 bullets each from the same weapon that had been used in aurora and not do something as a civilized humain society. and what brought it really to vogue for me, sandy hook, was it was almost identical to what happened in a school in scott rant in the mid-90s where a deranged man had taken guns spy school and killed 16 children. i never covered a more awful story in terms of the gut-wretching images of these poor parents sprinting to the school. i'm a father of four kids. like all parents, i drop my kids off at school and you hand them over and you expect to get them back. and it was just awful. and it was exactly the same, watching sandy hook pim turned on cnn and there were these parents racing to the school, the same terror in their faces. and i thought, this-- this
doesn't look right. they were saying one person had been killed. parents don't react like that if they think that's what's happening and slowly will it came out throughoutidate and it got worse and worse and worse. and i thought this is the end. you captain allow this to continue in america. you have to do something. in britain, we brought in draconian gun laws. we banned all hand guns. never mind assault weapones, they went as well. >> rose: did you confiscate hand guns in britain. >> as in australia in the mid-90, almost at the same time in both countries, a ban on all assault weapones, almost all handgunes, and there was a buy-back program where you could hand them in and the government could compensate you for it and after an extended period of time it was illegal to own these. the problem with america you couldn't do that. there are 300 million guns in circulation. and i don't think any american under the right to bear arms amendment in the constitution,
any conif you confiscatn. in california they got 2,000 handed in, in one day. it was a start. people were handing in rocket launchers, charlie, in los angeles. you know, i look at britain. i look at australia. i looked at the reaction that happened to those massacres there, and it was very different to here. it wasn't awe political issue. it wasn't 11 and right. the australian prime minister, john howard, wrote in the "new york times," fascinating piece about -- >> rose: what he did. >> he was considered pretty far right conservative, but he brought in really draconian gun control, and as he pointed out,ain massacres per the port arthur massacre which was a tipping point in the previous 10 or 12 years, i think it was. and since 1996 not a single one. and in britain a very similar story. >> rose: does britain, does australia have the power of an nra lobby like we do here? >> no, absolutely not. >> rose: is that the critical difference. >> critical difference, but also the gun culture here is
completely different. you know, i grew up in a small village in the south of england where nobody had a gun, other than a farmer who would use it for hunting or shooting or people going to a target range. they were just unheard of for people to actually is ray gun at home for self-protection. americans have always believed since gaining independence that you need to have a firearm at home to protect yourself and your family, and the vast majority of americans do that. i have no problem with that. i understand and respect that. i believe that's what the founding fathers fully intend by the second amendment. what i find unfathomable is the reality of what is going on now with these derranged young men-- it always seems to be a pattern of deranged young men who may ha been tipped over by video games, hollywood movies -- who knows what the final edge point is. >> rose: in some cases it might be biological. >> right. i can't go to wal-mart and buy sick packets of sued fred. i kaund buy six or seven
varietyes of french cheese because of the bacterial threat -- >> rose: but you can buy a gun at a gun show. >> i can buy an ar-15 at wal-mart. i can go down and buy this killing machine. the gun lobby will say they're just another rifle. get on youtube. look at what people are doing there and showing how an ar-15 performs when it has a magazine with 100 bullets as james holmes, the shooter in aroara used. these are machine guns. and they are designed with one specific purpose-- mass legislature. you can't use them for hunting. you can't use them really for shooting in terms of a sport because they're just killing machines. they just fire off. and if you use the new bullet designs, which you can get, which a friend of mine is a surgeon in los angeles. he's a bone surge. he repairs the damage from all the gang-land shoot-ups in the south of los angeles. and he sent me some pictures last night which showed the damage that some of these new bullets can do from an ar-15 in particular. the philosophy they go into the
body and the way they explode when they're inside you is absolutely terrifying. and it brings me to my repeated question to all these gun rights guests that i have-- i've got a problem with you-- i don't have a problem with you owning a pistol. why does anybody need one of these? >> rose: what do they say? >> they don't have an answer. the only answer i've had is they're fun. one gun right lobbyist said to me, "they are the ferrari of guns." >> rose: therefore, one answer to that proposed by some people is okay have these gun clubs. you go to the gun club to shoot. you go to your locker. and you get your gun. and then when you leave the gun club you put your gun back. would you be in favor of that? >> i'd certainly be more in favor of that -- >> rose: would you be willing to in a better world to allow that? >> if you were getting to a place of compromise, that would certainly be a sensible place to start. that's what happens in britain. you can still and go use them for sport but they are kept in a secure -- >> rose: for target practice. >> you have to have a license and renew-- my brother is a
british army colonel. he's fought in expafg iraq, alongside american troops. he's used all these firearms but he said when people come out of the army, if they try and get one of these weapons for civilian use, the amount of checks that go on in britain would stagger you. it goes on for months. you have to go-- you have to provide references. people have to vouch per for you pup have medical checks. you have psychological checks. it's a completely different ball game. and the result is this-- in britain, since 1996 we have averaged between 30 and 60 gun murderaise year. it's very consistent. in 2011, a record low i think of 39. in america, 11,000 to 12,000 a year in the same period. add to, that 18,000 americans who kill themselves with guns. >> rose: is this different than any controversy you have been involved in or any cause you've been involved in so that somebody wouldn't say, "this is just perfect for piers because he wants to be in the middle of where the conversation is and he is dramatically taken sides
here, and it puts him in focus." >> the only thing i've been involved with like this was the iraq war, where-- at the "daily mirror" we took a position against the iraq war, and it was significant because the mirror was seen to be the labor supporting newspaper and i was friends with tony blair and we clashed over that. we tried to persuade the government not to go to war in iraq. the irony for me was my own brother was fighting on the front line in iraq at the time and itas a very intense period and in the end it led to my departure from the paper because we were given some photographs of british troops apparently abusing iraqis, which may or may not have been fake. we never really found out about them, but i left. >> rose: there was more to that than that, though, wasn't it? the question was whether, you know, if those photos were fake? >> here's the reality, i certainly didn't know they were fake. the idea i would have published
any pictures knowing they were fake is ridiculous and offensive and i've always made that clear to people. the reality is we had two soldiers come to us. they album full of photographs of them with soldiers in the period they were talk ug about. and then they had these other pictures of troops with their faces cut off the pictures, apparently urinating and abusing iraqi civilians. now, i was fired over this because the ministry of defense, who we'd given these pictures to before publication and who raised no question of authentickivity-- we investigated this for three months. we only published it because it came after abu ghraib. >> rose: why did they fire you? >> because i refud to apologize. and we went to war on the pretext of weapons of mass destruction that didn't exist. let's see the veracity of these pictures. here's what's happened since. about a year ago, members of the
queens lancarbir regimen that we had accused came to court. some were court-martials. a commanding officer said his men behaved like a pack of wild animals during that period purpose theyere brought to book entually. nobody questioned the veracity of the story we publish with the pictures. what is the truth about those pictures? i still don't know. what i do know is no one has ever been prosecuted for faking them. no one has been brought to work for faking them. we have the word of the regimen, which has been discredited, and the government, which we know, told a pack of lives. >> rose: interesting way you were fired. didn't you get a call saying come to the office. we will have security walk you out. you will not go back to your office. >> i had been there 11 years. >> rose: what was the paper? >> the "daily mirror." when americans say "tabloid" they think "national enquirer." i was there a long time.
we can a lot of work. >> rose: how many years were you editor? >> 11 years editor in chief. >> rose: were you at the "news of the world?" >> i was briefly in the mid-90s for about a year. >> rose: and the "sun?" >> i worked on the sun in the late -- >> rose: but you were not the editor? >> no, i was just a reporter there. >> rose: so why-- you know, when people talk to me about you, especially those people in reflecte reflected in "vanity fair" as you know. >> yes. >> rose: there is this story, there is this belief that you were central to hacking at some point, not the most recent it episodes, were you? what did you do? >> no, it's complete nonsense. >> rose: what was it everybody believes you did and why do they believe it? >> as one of them told "vanity fair" my old journalist friends back in britain like to get together every two and three months and try to come up with a story to get you fired.
so the agenda is pretty obvious. >> rose: why do they have an agenda against piers morgan? >> i was a pretty provocative editor. i was competitive. >> rose: this is to get even even though you're working in new york-- >> nothing irks them more than the fact i rose from the ashes of being unser monessly dumped in the street from the "kal "mirror." >> it is a very serious journalistic job. >> rose: tell me-- people said, "he has never really talked about this sufficiently about what he knew and what he did, acknowledged what he did." >> let me make it clear again because i have repeatedly said the same thing. i never hacked a phone. i never told anybody to hack a phone. i never published any story knowing it to come from the hacking of a phone. i don't know how more unequivocal i can be. >> rose: never hacked a phone. >> never hacked a phone. >> rose: never seen information from a hacked phone that you knowingly knew was
illegally obtained. >> right, ner told anybody to ha a phone. never publish any story believing it was from a hacked phone, period. enemies of mine can try to drag me into this as they have done all they like and i say to them, produce the evidence. stop the chat, produce the evidence -- >> rose: no one steps forward to say piers morgan was engaged in hacking. >> oh, no, some people have without any evidence. well, i can do that. >> rose: bought butt you're saying here and everywhere else, i never did it. had nothing to do with it. >> nothing to do with hacking whatsoever, whatsoever. >> rose:hat did jeremy-- what's his name-- testify to about you and hacking? >> he's a big interrogator. he said he came to a lunch, which he did at the "mirror." i used to hold monthly lunches. a group of fun people, politicians, political journalistes, celebrities and so on. and he said i told him how to hack a phone. actually what i did was i wander him about the practice of
hacking. as i recorded in my own book, i had been wander myself. i was being investigate over something by the government, stock tipping thing. and in the course of it, i couldn't understand whso many stories about me were leaking out from the investigation, and somebody said to me, "they might be hacking your phone." i said, "what's that?" they said, if you don't change your four-digit security number, then in the old days, you could call a mobile phone, cell phone, and hear people's messages." i said, "really?" after that i i began telling other people as i recorded in my book sphwhru told jeremy-- >> i told museum russell people and yet he managed to phrase it in such a suspicious way quite deliberately. "morgan told me w to hack a phone." and that how it became a story in the paper the next day. and i thought this is utterly ridiculous. i've given the guy a warning. if i was involved in hacking celebrity phones because i wanted to pub the stories, why would i be warning them all? >> rose: so when you were doing this, how widespread was
it, even if you didn't do it? this was all before what happened to it "news of the world." by what, 10 years? >> look, i left fleet street in 2004. >> rose: okay, less than 10 years. >> right. i haven't been there for nearly a decade. as i said to the levinson inquiry -- >> rose: why do they want to talk to you? >> because enough people had come out and tried to smear me. and i wanted to talk to them. and i tried as best i could to go over it all and to say what i could remember, which, by the way, was very little. i said, look, in my book, i know in january, whenever it was, 2001, i was wander about the practice of hacking. i heard, like a lot of people, rumors about it. you know, that people would say the reason that paper got that story was from hacking. i never saw hard evidence of that. i never had any concrete evidence of that. but i heard rumors. and then in twowp 6, two years after i left fleet street, one of the "news of the world" journalists was arrested, charged, and jailed for phone
hacking. dismafts first time i'd seen it real, concrete, okay, so this is -- >> rose: and reached out to a whole range of people, rebecca books being one. did he work for you? >> yeah, rebecca worked for me. >> rose: you knew her well. were you surprised by this? >> let's wait and see what happens with the court cases. q. you think on appeal they wil? >> there wille court cases and we'll swe what happens. rebecca is one of the best journalists i are worked with my life of my life and also a close friend of mine. >> rose: and a very close friend to rupert. >> very close friend to rupert, and i don't recognize the caricature of her being put out there by people. >> rose: how about the editor of the paper and went to work worry david. >> andy, he was a very good editor and a very good right-hand man to david cameron and did a great job for him. i think he misses him now. again for andy, i i don't recognize the caricature. >> rose: what do yo bieve happened? >> i think there was a political
witch-hunt going on, a "get murdoch" campaign, and he inspired anger and resentment from the left in britain and i think certain newspapers decided we're going to go for him. and they got lucky and exposed what was a completely unacceptable practice going on amongst i think -- >> rose: you don't doubt it was going on. you doubt who might be involved. >> from the scale of what came out you have to assume it was going on in a widespread scale amongst, i believe, a small number of people. and i think that's what will emerge in the end. 101 journalists -- or 101 people, including journalists, have now been arrested for payments to officials and so on. >> rose: you're saying rebecca brooks will never go to jail? >> no, i'm not saying that. i'm saying let justice run its course. let's see. i don't recognize the caricature of her in the way that has been portrayed. rebecca is a good friend of mine. she's a great person. she's a brilliant journalist. she rose right to the top -- >> rose: she was running
everything over there. >> and she is a very smart person. >> rose: so she's scapegoat? she's what? a victim? >> let's wait and see what she is. i hope she turns out to be a completely innocent woman and gets back to what she was good at. >> rose: what has it changed in london, in great britain about the relationship between murdoch and the government? part of it they say is a rot of people were intimidated. >> which i'm sure is true. >> rose: and they're less intimidated now. >> i tnk it was a mutually beneficial relationship between the murdoch empire and all its guises and the government of the day. it's not an unusual thing, media owners to have relationships with the government at the time. and for mutual benefit where appropriate. and i think it probably was a case of that, and then what happened is you had a kind "reservoir dogs."
you had the politicians exposed for expenses and fiddling their lunch bills and building moats at public expense and so on. they felt enraged by that. some of them went to jail. they then gleefully targeted the journalists. in the middle of it you have the police targeted by everybody. >> rose: they were brought into it-- >> right. and they may target everybody else in revenge as well. you have a "reservoir dog" situation. >> rose: everybody turning on everybody? >> i think it's bun unhelpful to british society. i think it's made it fearful. i think when you have the police, politicians and media all trying to kill each other, it's not healthy and it reduces respect and trust in all of them. it's been brutal. it's been bloody. i think many people's lives have been ruined and actually they should just call-- they should start again and say, "okay, we all need to work with each other." the media needs to work with politicians at arm's length. the politicians need to work with the police, the police with
the media. it happens in every other country. you have to be able to work together. at the moment there's a complete standoff between all these three pillars of british society which i don't think is helpful. >> rose: is the relationship between the press and government, especially the prime minister and members of the cabinet, different-- for example, rebecca brook was a great friend of david cameron. they would weekend together. >> her husband went to school with david. >> rose: is it different than it is here? >> you know better than me. you know it's not unheard of for media figures in america to wine and dine, perhaps even go for a country weekend with politicians. it happens -- >> rose: or go to state dinners. >> it happens all the time. w harmful is it? it depends on the nature of the relationship. if the media person is paying a politician to suppress information or lobby for
something, clearly, that's corruption. if all they're doing is the politician has a message and the media person either believes it or doesn't and they want to discuss the ramifications of how this can be dealt with, i see no problem. >> rose: some people say the proof is in the pudding. does it influence coverage? >> right. >> rose: if you go for a weekend way politician and have dinner with him and all those kinds of things, does it influence the coverage sitily or negatively? if it has an influence that you don't write what you know, that's a negative influence. if it gives you insight into the thinking so you can take the story and to more with it. >> then it's positive. >> rose: it's positive. >> that's exactly right. and i think when that stoops-- you have in where the now complete fear. no politicians talking to any journalists. when i was editing papers we worked with police all the time on solving crimes, working together, the media and the police solving crimes together. it was a very big public service. i think many british newspapers too part in that.
and it was very advantageous to police investigations and to the public interest. that's not happening any more. there is a complete wall now. and the war goes on. it's got brutal. a lot of good people, i think, are being dragged down with it as well as bad. the payments to officials. you know -- >> rose: but that all came about under the same investigation. >> it did. here's the thing, charlie-- what is the difference, really, between a "guardian" journalist wining and dining the police detective, and the bill is $200 or another journalist from another paper giving that policeman $200? one is illegal and one isn't. but in terms of the purpose of what you are doing, it's a pretty fine line. it's a pretty fine line. it depends, again, on is it corrupting is the purpose of the payment to corrupt somebody? and if it is, that's corruption. if the purpose is actually-- if i'm buying a dinner for a police detective as an editor of a newspaper because i want to
understand about the crime in east london, billion, that to me, ems perfectly acceptable. >> rose: it does to me, too, in a sense-- the central issue, also is transparency. is ittransparent? nobody is hiding anything. i am a bit surprised to listen to you-- not about what you may or may not have done and the animous that may be there out of jealousy or whatever reason to you, but you seem to be saying-- i don't want to put words in your mouth-- this is not as bad as people think it is. >> no, no. i think you've got to be-- you've got to be reflective about what has come out. what i -- >> rose: there was a ild in the family and the anguish and cell phone and all of that-- >> well, the original story was somebody at the "news of the world" and it may or may not have been a staff journalist. it may have been a private detective at their behest-- had hacked into the pope of a missing girl and deleted some of her messages so others could be left and they could hear mens.
it turned out much laters after they were shut down, that that had never happened, that the phone automatically deleted messages because it filledup. the journalist or the detective had never done that, which dramatically changed the impact of that story. because actually the family's great distress was possibly she was alive because they could hear the messages had done. so it changed the nature of the story. does it make the original hacking acceptable? no. i don't think phone hacking is acceptable. it's illegal. and there are very few justifications for it. however, i defy any american journalist if they had been told, look, we have osama bin laden's cell phone number. and we can-- let me finish. >> rose: that's a easy case. >> well, it's an easy case but it's a principle at stake. is it always completely unacceptable? in that circumstance, would a responsible journalist not take the course of action open to him to potentially listen to osama bin laden's messages? i'm not sure most journalists in
america would turn down -- >> rose: the different case is, so, you know, you are just listening to gossip on some entertain's cell phone-- >> not acceptable. >> rose: not acceptable. >> unacceptable. ros and they sued for it and won. >> some of them have, yes. what's acceptable? >> i think all journalists ride the cusp of acceptable. journalism is a rough business. to get to the truth when a the love people in public bodies and political figures and soy on are lying and obfuscating, sometimes journalists have to play dirty, too, and to pretend otherwise i think is ridiculous. "the mirror" in my time operated legally but right on that line. we drove very, very hard to expose wrongdoing where we saw it, to investigate wars, to investigate political lying and so on. now, the line is legality. you know, there is law, there's
british law, there's american law. and it's there, and it wasn't enforced in britain with the hack ago. >> rose: all is fair in love and war, as long as it's legal. >> legal and responsible. there should be a purpose to it. >> rose: what drives people beyond the legality is competition because you were worried that you're using leadership to the other tabloid because they have more stuff. >> let's not pretend it's just a tabloid thing. >> rose: i'm not. >> let me give you an example. the daily telegraph is a respected broad sheet in britain and it broke the law when it paid for the information that led to the exposure of mp expenses. it was stolen, so they broke the law. i endorse that lawbreaking. it was right to do that. elements of wikileaks were clearly illegal. journalists that repeat them are also breaking the law. they're acceories. >> rose: fair enough. when is the test when it's okay
to break the law? >> you have to have good lawyers who tell you where the line is drawn, and then you have the public interest. >> rose: i thought you were saying it's okay to break the law. >> no, no. >> rose: if the story is about exposing corruption, rather than -- >> i think occasionally it can be for i reasons i just stated. the mp expenses, that was in the public interest. >> rose: so, therefore, it's okay if it's in the public interest. >> i think if there is an overt public interest, yes. i think it can be defende >> rose:ut that's the problem. but that's the problem. >> the courts have upheld this. >> rose: the problem is defining what's in the public interest. >> that is the key problem. that is the key issue. becausement public interest defined by a tabloid newspaper would differ substantially from the broadsheet newspaper. the news agendas are different. is it fair the only stories in the public interest and, therefore, lawbreaking is permissible, should be the news agenda of a so-called serious newspaper? i don't know. it's open for debate.
but that is to mehere the gray air is, and that is to me where the argument has to be properly had and the rules of engagement established. >> rose: let me get frulondon to new york. you're in the midst of all of that, and you get fired. >> yes. >> rose: you, obviously, had to make a decision. i've got to get another place. i gotta do something. where do i go from here? how do i come back? so what did you do? >> i had done a bit of television in britain. >> rose: and successfully. there were certain programs you had they read about. >> dione called "tabld tales," me interviewing famous people, who had been through the tabloid mincer. and there was me, one of the orchestraters, perhaps of their mincing and it was an interesting program and did pretty well. on the back of that, when i got fired from "the mirror," simon cowl rung me up and said i have an idea for a talent show.
it will be like "american idol" -- >> rose: by this time, "american idol" was successful. >> huge. he said, i want somebody like me, arrogant and obnoxious, and your name sprang to mind. he said, "i want somebody like me, evil, arrogant, and obnoxious and your name sprang to me." >> rose: did you receive that with pleasure? >> i didn't think i was overtly evil but the others i couldn't quibble with from time to time. i had only been to america a few times in nigh life. i was interviewed by nbc. >> rose: entertainment executives. >> yes, from nbc. to cut a long story short i was hired, and the show went to number 1 and it's stayed there since. >> rose: then came donald trump. what did he do for jew he launched a new version of "the apprentice," called "the celebrity apprentice."
they said we'd like you to take part of this. i said i liked "the apprentice." i said i'll do it. and i ended up winning it by being fairly brutal, fairly british, i guess, in my style, rubbin pple the wong wy, being pretty uncompromising. >> rose: were you that much different than you were on the other show? >> not really. i would say there was a brand extension. >> rose: a brand. do you see that as your brand, and is it you? >> i think it's partly me. listen, in business, whether i'm editing a newspaper, competing in "celebrity apprentice" judging a talent show, i think i can be to the point. >> rose: "to the point" is a little different from what of the way simon it portrayed you. >> it i think he would say it is show business. i can be tough, tough speaking, but underneath it i think i have a good heart. i think i always try to see the
good in people as well but if people want to have a scrap or feud or punch-up, i'm your guy, too. >> rose: come back to the thing in london for just a second. what is it about the people who want to see you down? >> well, i think part of it is i'm anchoring one of the biggest shows on cable television in the world. >> rose: it's that? jealous, envy? >> i tnk it's a little bit of at. >> rose: is it something about you? >> i think i've rubbed people up the wrong way. >> rose: because you did something to them? >> i think there are certain media people in britain in particular, who think they are above any form of scrutiny or criticism themselves. i used to target those very people precisely for that relationship, whether it's the jeremy paxson, the editor of "private eye." >> rose: "private eye" has been-- >> brutal. so why shouldn't we be brutal back? >> rose: it's chicago rules as they say. >> it's chicag rules. >> rose: they use a wife
knife, you use a gun. >> there's a man andrew sullivan, who throws -- >> rose: a blogger. >> i bang him back and i don't understand why. if you punch somebody in the nose in the school playground the best defense is punch them back. >> rose: so you punch him back and he-- he writes another piece. >> i couldn't give a monkey's... ( laughter ) >> rose: all of a sudden you have become a big-time celebrity making big bucks. and then larry king is retiring and most people wanted that job-- or a lot of people did. i'm not sure who wanted it or didn't. i'm not even sure who the competition was. how come you got that job? >> i had been doing a big interview show in britain. it's the most popular in terms of viewers. >> rose: you still doll it? >> yes, it's called "life stories," on public figures. >> rose: you go to the itv web site and see the interviews?
>> yes. i have about 50 now, 50 shows. >> rose: big oprah winfrey type people? >> yes, elton john, prime minister gordon. they air for an hour and they are people's life stories. cnn, my manager used to be larry king's manager, and he was with william morris at the time. and he was aware of the change coming and everyone was aware. it was being written about all over the place. and he said look, if you're looking for someone to do some interview shows for you, not larry king's slot, interview shows, then my client piers, you may only know him from the talent show or "the apprentice" but get some tapeses of his interviews with these people because they're quite something. which they are. they're very intense and full-on
interviews. but they show a range they wouldn't have been aware of. they got me in. and they called me in for an interview. we had a half-hour slot and it became two hours and at the end of the it, according to some who we there they decidedly i was the guy. >> rose: who is that that? who is "they?" >> some are still there, ken joz. you i hadda number of the executives there. and they just-- john klein was still there. >> rose: is anything different between what you did on the aforementioned show for itv and what you do on cnn? >> yeah, because i think actually what it's become is a show which takes the best of what i do for itv in terms of the interviews with bick stars, whether barbar barbra streisand or dawley lawmaker acharlie sheen this week, there's that type big in-depth interview. but at the same time, if you're at cnn, you have to do news. and i think we have proven uses
with the gun issue and other things, too, the tabloid skills, if you like, of the vivid and dramatic presentation of the news-- which is what tabloid means-- can be put on a show like mine and bring issues to life. and they can be if animated and argumentative and i can be opinionated without crossing that line which you have to be careful of at cnn of being politically partisan which is what they don't want. >> rose: the idea is fox is more to the right. >> msnbc for t more to the left. it doesn't mean the anchors have to be mute or don't have to have opinions. i'm very happy to have had the support of cnn to be opinionated about things like the gun issue which i don't view as political anyway. i'm happy for that because i think it makes for better
television. what other issues fit that? the motion of issues in which there is no-- in which there is right and wrong. >> i've been animated about gay marriage. i had people on, rather infamous, kirk cameron, which hit off on the internet because i found his commentary about homosexuality very offensive and wasn't afraid to say so. issues like that. i think the issues about the paralyzing of washington. >> rose: the disfunction. >> absolutely. to me, shocking. there are a number of things where i'm not afraid of frayed to express an opinion. i don't think historically cnn has done that. i think you'll see are more of that. if you're going to compete in a market with rachel maddow and bill oriley and others firing off opinion all day long -- >> rose: you think cnn wl have to go mre like fox and
msnbc in order to be compeptative? >> only in the sense of personalities, anchoring each hour, and unfrayed to express an opinion. i don't think you will see a line crossed where they become completely partisan to a party. >> rose: where do you put anderson in all that? >> that's up to anderson. anderson is one of our star anchors and has been for a long time. he expresses a lot of opinions when it matter. everyone remembers him from katrina. >> rose: or haiti. i personal would like to see more of that displu hope your political ideology doesn't cloud your judgment. that's what you have to watch out for. >> you have to be sincere. you have to believe it. you start acting. you start being theatrical. >> rose: you lose your mooring. >> you lose everything. the anchor goes, you're all the over the place.
>> rose: larry king said-- and you can look at this either way-- i'm happy it's that way or not hay it's that way or may not be true. he said the show is a lot about him as much as the guest. he is so different from me. >> i am different from larry. >> rose: are you different in you made the show about you rather than the guest. >> i think it was always about larry king. it was called "larry king drive." i have huge respect for larry, he's a legend. but he's been taking a few snipes at me. >> rose: what's going on there? >> he's probably missing the show. he said that to me. he misses the show. he's larry. he probably hasgo ys and bad days. he's an irascible fellow in many ways. you know him well. i have a lot of respect for him. if he want people to highlight the difference, i will say this, i am a journalist and he is not. larry was a radio guy. i spent 25 years on fleet street, 11 years as editor in chief of a daily newspaper. that brings with it a different
style of approach both to the delivery of the show and the interviewec itnique. larry didn't believe in research. he famously it turned up and would wing it -- >> rose: he said he wanted to be the same place as the audience and didn't want to know too much. >> by the way, i watched his though and it worked for him. but for me i like to be forensic. and i'm sure you're similar to that. we are very different in the style. i'm half his age, almost. i'm british. he's american. larry did give years. i've done two. i'm a journalist. he's a radio kauai. he's a jew from brook lip, i'm an irish catholic. there are a number of ways we can differentiate ourselves, but ultimately, what we both love is that we bot love news and interviewing people and we're curious about both. if i tried to emulate larry kung, i would be dead right now,
off the air. >> rose: how are you at sudden violent now? >> the figures came out for the year, 2012. wwere the highest views of viewed show on the network which i don't think is too bad after two years. >> rose: how do you compare to larry and where he was? >> we're pretty well where he left it. >> rose: you mean he was beginninto sde? >> the last few years of larry's tenure, as is well known, the ratings it had fallen off dramatically. and in the last three, four months we have seen a rise. when you find a voice and something that resonates with the public, and i'd be very gattified by the reaction we've had to what we have been doing on guns from people who just agree with me that something has to be done, but at the same time i respect those who don't agree with me. they haveave regular place on my show to engage in debate. sometimes it's fiery. sometimes it isn't.
ultimately what we've been the last four, five months is establish a voice and platform for debate about one of the big issues in america today. >> rose: how would you like to have done the lance armstrong interview? >> i'm not sure i could have done it because i'm a huge sports fan. i'll tell you why i say that. i would have been too angry with lance armstrong. this is a man who lied, cheated, and kaund the world for a very long time butid it in a very malicious day. david walsh of the "sunday times" who exposed him time and again and lance armstrong sued him time and again. he won $1 million off the "sunday times" and now he's admitted that he drugged all the time, h he was a cheat. >> rose: we'll find tout tonight what he said. >> i think we can pretty well take it that's what he will say. you have this great it american icon, global ico who was a cheat. i dot know about you, you like
sport, and i like sport. i remember a cricket game, i was editing the "daily mirror." i like crickit. it's not the most popular sport in america, but i like it. i remember this game. it was a-- there was a surprising declaration by want south african captain which didn't make any sense, allowed england back into the game, international game, and we ended up winning it, and he had been very sporting and i personal lie wrote the lead article saluting this man's courage, sportsmanship and willingness to plead want crowd to allow a game to finish, like it was dying out, fizzling out with no result. dismen i find out a few years later he'd been paid to do it, he cheated, he'd thrown the game. i was so disgusted, so disgust. to me it was far worse than any normal person doing it. sportsmen have privileged lives beyond all dreams. they live ourselves dreams.
most of us want to be a professional sports man but never get near it. i wanted play cricket for england. i wanted to play football for england. you may have your own childhood harbingers, i have no idea. and i think that it kills it. each time you hear of one of these cheats it kills it. we have -- >> rose: steroids in baseball or betting on baseball. >> any cheats. i just think cheating in sport is something that just-- is it it kills everybody because it is killing a dream. it's killing something that is escapism for all of us and it has to be pure. >> rose: if lance armstrong says everybody else is doing it. >> it's the i was only obeying orders doctrine. it never carries any succor with me. there's no courage -- >> rose: have you interviewed lance armstrong? >> i've never interviewed him. i would feel very angry if i interviewed him because i know
the damage he did to a lot of people, the deliberate damage. he was a nasty piece of work with a lot of these journalists. >> rose: threatening and lawsuits. you know the iteresting thing about that, you know, you know th you're lying, so you know who you are. >> it's an amazing thing to then go after people. to deny it but actively sue them and try to ruin their lives, get them fired, wher ruin their jobs and livelihood. more than that with him. he created this whole livestrong charity which raised hundreds of millions of dollars, on the face of it, an amazing thing to do. you could say he built the whole thing as a front to protect himselfs of from exposure for drug taking. and yes he raised hundrs of millions of dollars for charity, but how much more money did lance armstrong rake in for himself because of the charitable image he portrayed himself as. he kept saying i'm clean. i'm more than that, i'm a survivor. i'm more than, that i'm raising hundred of millions for
charity. on the back of it he made himself a very, very wealthy man. and it's that that sticks in nigh gullet. my first question to him would be when you set up the charity, you knew you were a cheat. did you do it it to protect yourself. >> rose: what do you think? >> i think he did. >> rose: i don't know about that. i might say eye would join all those who say whatly did to the sport, what he did to competitors, and what he did to truth and what he did to integrity, all of those things deserve the loudest probing. i wouldn't necessarily assume because he was so bad on all of those counts, and especially the kind of intimidation of people and threats of people. >> terrible. >> rose: and trying to avoid anybody having a voice that was not his voice, not the same-- >> and bullying younger teammates. q. i can assume somebody likehie things, whatever he's confessed to, whatever he did, could have a legitimate-- because he was a
cancer survivor. you can't take that away from him. >> no, no. >> rose: having a legitimate interest in doing that. i think people are bad and good. >> i totally agree with that. you might be right. but i have become more cynical about lance armstrong and now they know every denial was a complete lie, my cynicism has been increased and i wouldn't put it past him. i think now we know the scale of his deception and want cynical way he did it. is it beyond the engination that he be constructed this this whole thing with a defense mechanism? i don't think it is. >> rose: one last thing about lance armstrong. i sat today at lunch way friend of mine who lost a woman that he loved deeply. it was not marriage but great-- very, very, very close-- to cancer. and he said to me she was inspired by his story-- not of the foundation is it, the fact that he beat cancer, the idea of
that was an inspiration to him. he doesn't deserve any credit for that because you could be inspired by a whole range of other people. you didn't do anything to make a link between that person. that was an interesting ideal. >> i don't disagree with that possibility but i also wonder what that person would have said no. now that we know about his potential -- >> rose: that person died. >> so we'll never know. >> rose: exactly. >> and we may never know what lance armstrong's real motivation is. i'm not sure i believe anymore. there have been many cheats but this was a great cheat. he was a seven-time -- >> rose: i've asked people to define the level of this. >> i don't think there's been a worse sporting chief in history. seven-time tour de france winner, who turned out to have been a cheat the entire time and bullied younger members of his team to come along with them, too, corrupted them, and inspired millions of young americans in particular, to believe in his dream.
it's the bike, nothing else. and it turned out to be a pack ofalize. it wasn't the bike at all. it was the krugz. so the ability to inspire has also now been crushed, i think, buyer the ability to shatter a dream and shatter the inspiration by the fact that want whole thing was built on sapped. >> rose: if you were not at cnn, will you stay in america? >> are you retiring soon? ( laughter ) another guy that works so hard. i love america. america has been very good to me. one of the things i find ridiculous about my gun control position is somehow i'm un-american. >> rose: i don't think anybody says that. >> people do say that. >> rose: i don't think anybody seriously-- that means the mayor of new york is un-american. the president is un-american. >> my response silike americans. i would like more of you to stay
alive. >> rose: is this the place you want to be? have you found a place here that you're unlikely to go back to london, a very attractive place. >> yeah. >> rose: and do what-- some other thing because you still have a relationship there. you still have a show there. you still do things there. >> i do. but i think the honest truth is i have found a job and platform-- not just in america but a global scale-- which is very, very hard to beat. cnn has hundreds of millions of viewers a day for the show. and i love the fact that it can be the dawley lawmaker athe next minute barbar barbra streisand and charlie sheen. you have the same thing hire. i watch the show regularly. the fact that youo that means i suspect you share my view that people can be very narrow minded in their definition of what is interesting or news worthy. it's not just about war, famine, opener politics. there's much more to life than that, and the ability to meet
people from all walks of life and get inside them have the curiosity you have or larry king has or oprah has and also from time to time not just cover big, breaking news stories but shape ape national debate as we have been doing with the gun control debate and hopefully, from my point of view, have some influence there and to have a clear voice and to give people a clear perspective and an opportunity to assess it for themselveses and make a decision. that's a pretty unbeatable proposition. >> rose: what you owe to all of us-- everybody, what i owe and oprah owes-- is to make sure you don't take it for granted and you work as hard as you can to be as good as you can, and it doesn't become some tool to do other things. >> the most inspiring thing i have in america to look at, people like you, barbara walters, oprah, many otherswho do what i do and have been doing it very a very long time, the energy and determination and competitive spirit that still surges through all your veins.
barbara walters is, what, 64 years old? she kills every day to win an interview. people of her, quist in britain would have been retired by 70 and tending their begonias in a garden somewhere but she wants to beat me every single day to a booking. i can't think of a more inspiring place to work in my particular chosen profession because you feel you're with the most competitive people for the biggest guess on the biggest platform. for any interviewer-- and we're all egomaniacs at hart, really. we love people to watch our interviews. this is the place to be if you want to be -- >> rose: at this table. >> this very table. >> rose: thank you, piers. piers morgan, good to have you. captioning sponsored by rose communications